by Andy Diggle (writer), Roberto De La Torre (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), and Joe Caramagna (letters)

The Story: Foggy seeks out Daredevil and Dakota attempts to rescue Becky.

What’s Good: Last month’s Daredevil seemed to finally find itself, deciding to dedicate itself to the tribulations of Daredevil’s buddies Foggy and Dakota, characters who had been utterly neglected and whose perspectives should be invaluable.  Given Daredevil’s uneven quality of late, I wasn’t sure if Diggle would stick with this commitment, but he does.  Daredevil #511 focuses once again on Daredevil’s unique cast of friends and that’s good news in itself.

The end result is a book that feels really moody, desperate, and atmospheric.  It, unlike the main Shadowland series, captures just how dark and insane Hell’s Kitchen has become.  You really get the sense of New York’s devolving into an anarchic hell of indiscriminate and irrational violence and rage.  In so doing, this issue really makes it clear how this is something that Shadowland, the main series, should’ve doing much earlier.  The mood established this month and the depiction of Hell’s Kitchen’s madness and the price of Shadowland’s establishment and the events within are made clear this month, and it’s solid and it makes Shadowland appear all the more lacking by comparison.

De La Torre also continues to crank out great Daredevil art.  It’s dark and gritty as usual, but in capturing the riotous, insane Hell’s Kitchen core, there’s a constant sense of derangement to De La Torre’s art, owing to his rough lines and shading.  Better still, thanks in part to Matt Hollingsworth’s colours, the interiors of Shadowland remove some of the darkness in exchange for an undertone of disease and sickness.

What’s Not So Good: Last month really found the sweet spot by focusing on a Dakota and Foggy duo and in its second outing, Daredevil manages to bungle this somewhat.  By bringing in Kurtz and Becky in big ways, the title feels to stretch itself a little too thinly this month.  The characters, under Diggle’s hand anyway, don’t seem able to carry big chunks of book on their own.  Regardless, at times it feels like Becky and Kurtz’s presences are almost out of a sense of obligation.  Becky’s scene in particular doesn’t possess the kind of drama Diggle intends it to and many of the scenes end up feeling more lifeless than they should.  The atmosphere of the book is great, but the actual scenes are just a little too unremarkable and mediocre.

The one character whose scenes Diggle really tries to invest with emotion are Foggy’s.  But it doesn’t work, and it’s purely because of Diggle’s failings with respect to Shadowland in general.  The whole thing just feels too little too late, trying to summon feelings and emotional investments that Diggle never established.

It’s ironic hearing Foggy asking himself how he and Daredevil got to this point given that readers are probably still wondering the very same thing.  How Daredevil became the bad guy, and the explanation of it, are probably the weakest points of Shadowland that have weighed the event down throughout its run.  Diggle never gave us any real, impactful events to look back on or feel strongly about so as a result, Foggy’s sad reflections sound hollow.

Conclusion: Better than Shadowland, but hampered by its failings.  It’s too little, too late.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans